Love Bite: Entry #9
Love Bite #9
For the first time in a long time, I got on my knees and prayed. Leke had been missing for four days; I couldn't go to work; I still didn't know who was sending the videos. It was a mess- a hot mess.
I heard God likes hot messes. He could fix them.
Please bring Leke home.
It was all I could mutter. I laid my head on the bed, whispering those words over and over. Quickly, the bedsheets dampened with warm tears and my sobs, muffled against the soft cotton. If God heard me, he wasn't in a rush to respond. I stayed on my knees until the stiff protrusions of the rug tendrils digging into my knees faded away and I fell asleep. I woke with a start to the vibration of my phone. I squinted at the screen. It was a text message. A strange number.
💬 Meet me at VTO V.I at 9.
I arrived at VTO lounge a little before 9 pm. I half expected to see Leke, but Leke wouldn’t know Lagos’ new hookah lounge. Spotlights bounced off the tiled floors, and the air carried a sweet, fruity smell that made me think of fruity lip balms I loved as a teenager. Along the walls were black booths, lit with soft, warm lights enshrouded in hookah smoke.
I looked at my watch. 8:54 pm. I kept walking, squinting through the smoke at each booth. Then I saw her.
My brows creased.
What was she doing here? It couldn’t be her. How did she get the videos? Why was she in the compound that night?
Without a word, I slid into the booth across from her.
Her expression was grim and her lips tight.
She watched me settle in; the white of her large eyes even whiter in the dim lights of the bar.
“I’m only here because…” She started, “Honestly…I don’t know why I’m here.”
”It was you?”I asked. It sounded more like an accusation than a question.
”No”, Her large eyes ran over me, offended.
“Who was it? Who is it?” I asked.
She took a deep breath,”Next week, during your national church convention, one of the videos will be released.” My heart sank. What?! Why? How? My mind began to spin. Leke’s face flashed through my mind.
She continued,“He has a friend…someone at your church I presume.”
“Who has a friend at my church?” My voice shook. “Who is doing this?” My throat grew salty with tears. What did I ever do to him? A tear tickled my cheek.
She looked at me, reached into her purse and offered me a pack of tissues.
She let out her breath with a sigh and rolled her large eyes. ”He’s scorned maybe. I don’t know.” For a second she looked sad, a little concerned. She spoke again, ”I always thought I’d be that woman who made a man forget any woman who ever ripped his heart out. But that’s not the case here.” She looked away like my tears made her uncomfortable.
“I don’t know why he’s doing it. He’s still hung up on you, I suppose.”
I sniffled into the tissue. “Who?”
Then my eyes widened. It couldn’t be…
She cleared her throat.
”You were sleeping with Niran, while you were dating Leke. Even the night of your bridal shower... ” She shrugged.
My mouth was dry. The memory flashed through my mind. I had shown up at Niran’s apartment—the one he kept on the mainland away from his wife. I hate to remember all we did that night. I remember holding on to him like a lifeline. Niran had said he loved me and asked me not to marry Leke. He’d leave his wife too.
Tayo broke into the memory, ”Apparently, you decided to “settle down” and marry your husband. Left Niran high and dry.”
Her eyes bored into me. My gaze settled on the salt shaker on the table.
”Anyway, it didn’t stop even after you were married. The first time as a missus, you vowed never to do it again blah, blah. Then it happened again.”Her tone was accusing.
“The third time, you filed a sexual harassment claim against Niran.”
”I know all of this”, I snapped.
“No point getting testy. We side-chics need to bond together.”
”I am not a side chic”, My tone was ice.
"Suit yourself", She shrugged.
She continued, a small smile on her lips,”Then Niran found out you were having an affair. Again. This time with his friend, Jare.”
"You know Niran?" Ngozi’s voice echoed in my mind. "Niran is Jare’s friend. Small world". Her voice lingered.
“We usually are at Niran's apartment but his wife got wind of the secret apartment, so we started using Jare's pad. His wife is hardly in the country...so it works.”
I wasn’t breathing.
”The videos started as a joke. Niran would set up some fancy motion-sensitive camera”, She brushed away the details with a swing of her hand, “We’d record…stuff.”
“One day, he forgot to turn off the camera. When he retrieved it, you and Jare were on it. He talked about it all day, every day. He kept watching and watching. He was consumed with it. Since then, he’d leave the camera running.”
”I watched a few recordings,” She said excitedly,”You never imagine the girls they bring and what they do! I actually saw a family friend of mine and your friend—“
Tayo caught herself mid-sentence.
“What friend?” I frowned.
“Look. I’m telling you about this because it’s going out of hand. At first, he thought maybe having you on film would exonerate him. You had a habit. This would prove it. He told me once everyone knows what a phony you were, his name would be cleared. The more videos he watched, the less important clearing his name seemed to be. He wanted everyone to know. Everyone deserved to know, especially those who thought highly of you-your husband, your church, your friends, your colleagues." She said, "I’d even get the Marrakesh gig. So I just remained quiet and moonlighted your work."
”I leave for Marrakesh next week.”
She got to her feet,”There’s someone helping him.” Her braids swept over the bar table as she flipped her locks.
She tucked a few 200 Naira notes under her coaster for her drink. And without another word, she walked away from the table, out of the dim lights into the spot-lit area and out of the lounge.
The thump-ump of my heart echoed in my ears. Niran. A swallow tried in vain to moisten my gritty throat.
It wasn’t something I was proud of—reporting Niran. I had been sure that the affair would stop. It didn’t. Overcome with guilt, I filed a harassment claim. I had sexts and texts to prove. I figured if it became an official case, we would stop.
The lie caught on. It surprised me how easily it did. I was suddenly the victim—the pastor’s wife who supported her husband and needed a promotion from a demanding, womanizing boss. Niran kept his job but was on probation. No other company would touch him with a 9-foot pole.
I wasn’t proud of what I did but Leke came first.
He always did. I didn’t know where he was tonight. A dull fear spread throughout my chest. Had something happened to Leke?
Please bring him home, I muttered again.
My mind drifted again to Niran. I remembered his poker face as I spoke to him and Dami Pedro. He seemed genuinely concerned and eager to assist.
There’s someone helping him. Tayo’s voice echoed in my mind.
Yes, there was.
And I knew who.
Copyright ©2017 by IkeOluwapo Adegboye